Marketing doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here are some thoughts on how to market your business for free through the networking groups on your doorstep.
Network with attitude – people buy people. Then they buy their products and services. Confident networking will help you make these connections. Where to begin? Your local chamber of commerce is a great place to start. Each month they will host a breakfast, lunch or evening meeting. Sign up and go along.

Preparation – establish which events are most appropriate for you. Go through the delegate lists in advance and identify people or companies that you would like to have a conversation with.
What do I say? People love to talk about themselves – so FORD
F – Family
O – Occupation/ career
R –Recreation – what do people enjoy doing in their spare time
D – Dreams / Goals
Get them talking about how great their kids are and they will think you are the most interesting person in the world – even though you might not have told them anything about yourself. Remember … be interested, not interesting.
Set yourself targets and challenges – for example, you’re going to tell five chosen people about a particular aspect of your business or you’re going to get five business cards and pave the way for a follow up call to at least one of them.
When do I move in for the kill? Networking is not a blood sport. Before you stab them in the heart with your sharpened business card, think of how you can win their trust. Do they have a particular need; is there any free advice you
can offer? Do as much as you can to start a business friendship rather than a cold and calculated hard sell.
The Referral Circle – broker relationships with companies who can refer business to you.
Someone save me! You’ve engaged somebody in conversation who will never become a customer. You don’t want to be rude, so what can you do? Have a couple of excuses ready. These might include:
“I’m keen to ask
the speaker a question, would you excuse me for a minute?”
“There’s a person I
must quickly say hello to, but you’re welcome to join us.”
What do I do afterwards? Like all relationships, you have to invest time to make it work. Phone call follow-ups, meetings, further offers of assistance, corporate hospitality invitations.
Now go get networking!